Trade-offs with longer lifetimes? The case of LED lamps considering product development and energy contexts

Jessika Luth Richter*, Leena Tähkämö, Carl Dalhammar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
139 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Longer product lifetimes are promoted by the EU's Circular Economy Action Plan, but incentivising longer lifetimes could also result in trade-offs between different environmental impacts for some product categories. LED lamps are still experiencing improvements in efficacy and material design, which raises questions about whether longer lifetimes are desirable from an overall environmental perspective. Applying a comprehensive life cycle assessment using actual product cases from 2012 to 2017, the research builds on previous product lifetime studies and lighting product research to determine the scenarios in which longer lifetimes are desirable from an overall environmental perspective. The factors explored in the scenarios included improving products in terms of efficiency and dematerialisation as well as decarbonised electricity contexts. The results indicate that product replacement with improved products resulted in environmental benefits compared to keeping longer life products in use, but there are some trade-offs between environmental impacts. However, these trade-offs are minimised in the context of decarbonised electricity mixes and will further decrease as LED lamp technology matures and product development slows. The policy implications of the findings are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-209
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume226
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Circular economy
  • Durability
  • Ecodesign
  • LED lamps
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Product lifetime

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